CARLSBAD, Calif. — Two Ocean Beach men spotted picking up trash in the early morning hours on a web cam continue to receive help they never asked for. In this Zevely Zone, I visited 'Elevated Smiles' in Carlsbad where one of the O.B. Helpers is getting some help of his own.
When 63-year-old Marc Gervais was homeless, he couldn't count the number of people who walked right past him. Imagine his shock when a well-known dentist opened her arms and told him to open his mouth wide. "It's kind of overwhelming. I came in here and there are eight people sitting back there and I was sitting there, and they said hey," said Marc.
Dr. Tina Saw watched our stories on Marc and his friend Dave Hendon and wanted to help Marc's aching mouth. "I get toothaches all of the time, I have five broken roots and they get infected every once in a while," said Marc. "Yeah, it's painful."
After picking up trash for years, Marc and Dave were spotted on a webcam. News 8 viewers donated more than $30,000 to help them. San Diego Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram then offered a minivan makeover to keep the feel-good story rolling.
One of Marc's supporters messaged News 8 and informed us about his dental disease. That person told us if we really wanted to help Marc, we'd alleviate the pain he lives with every day and that's when Dr. Saw stepped up.
"How long have some of these teeth been missing?" said Dr. Saw during Marc's examination.
Marc only has three in his mouth, and sure Dr. Saw could have walked right by his pain like so many people did at the O.B. Pier, but she didn't. "There is something about waking up in the morning and I say I am doing something great for somebody I am changing somebody's life," said Dr. Saw.
Eight thousand dollars of dental care for free. "I feel that people who deserve this a whole lot more than what we do I mean all we do is pick up trash," said Marc. But it was the way Marc and Dave did it for years without fanfare that makes people like Dr. Saw treat him like family. "Marc, he's friendly. As soon as he walked in, I could tell he was smiling under his mask," said Dr. Saw.
Marc and Dave no longer live in their van. They pre-paid the rent for six months for an apartment for them and their dog Pico. Thanks to the kindness of Elevated Smiles, Marc's about to take another big bite out of his new life.
"I can't wait to eat corn on the cob again, and peanuts, do you know how long it's been since I've munched down on peanuts?" said Marc. "What makes people want to go out of their way for a trash picker?"
The man who people passed for years is about to be all smiles.
If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Saw and her practice 'Elevated Smiles' click here.